Man pleads guilty, insanity in 2017 Kzoo Co. crime spree

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The suspect in a violent Kalamazoo County crime spree last year has pleaded guilty to several felony charges.

Matthew Steppenwolf pleaded guilty, but mentally insane to charges of armed robbery, second-degree arson, discharge of a firearm into a building causing injury, carjacking and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was charged with 10 felony counts related to a violent crime spree last January.

Steppenwolf started the spree by leaving a Comstock Township gas station without paying for less than $10 of fuel he had pumped while armed with a shotgun. He then went to a Cooper Township home and allegedly set fire to a home. No one was injured in the incident.

After, he went to Kalamazoo and allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a house on Monterey Drive and then opened fire on the building while yelling racial slurs. A woman in the house was shot in the chest.

Officers found Steppenwolf leaving the scene of the shooting in a minivan, but were unable to detain him because he was ignoring traffic signals and traveling over 100 mph.

After evading police, he allegedly carjacked a woman at the intersection of Drake Road and Croyden Street, during which he allegedly punched the woman multiple times until she fell to the ground and gave up the keys to the vehicle.

Dispatchers were later notified that he had crashed the stolen car on TS Avenue in Climax Township in southeaster Kalamazoo County. Witnesses reported the driver hadn’t stepped out of the vehicle and responding officers arrested him without incident.

Before his arraignment, his mother told the court he may have been suicidal. He did not have a criminal history before the incidents.

A sentencing hearing is slated for 8:30 a.m. on March 12.

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